Wouldn’t it be lovely if ‘Enry ‘Iggins and Eliza Doolittle were as warm and ‘owling a hit on the screen as on the stage? We will know in October when Warner Bros unveils its $17,000,000 production of My Fair Lady.
Meanwhile, these scenes from the film, now being edited, indicate that all is well with the most popular musical ever.
The Lerner-Loewe classic is the first of its kind since “The Merry Widow” (1904) to be universally-accepted. Audiences from Moscow to Melbourne love its tunes and laugh at the same lines of George Bernard Shaw’s fable about the professor of phonetics and the Cockney flower girl he transforms into a great lady by mending her diction.
Adorned with Edwardian elegance by designer Cecil Beaton, the movie keeps the 1912 London flavor of the original show, with Rex Harrison repeating his stage role as Professor Higgins, and Audrey Hepburn playing the Covent Garden guttersnipe.
In midnight rain at Covent Garden, Eliza dreams: “Wouldn’t it be lover’ly with someone warm and tender as he can be, who tykes good care of me?”
Higgins conquers her Cockney
Rex Harrison has grown accustomed to the face of Henry Higgins, having played the irascible professor 1,006 times in the original New York and London productions.
For his 1,007th performance, he spent “a grueling six months” on the movie. Rather than use recordings of his song numbers, he did them “live,” with a microphone hidden beneath his necktie, to keep them spontaneous.
Eliza, unruly daughter of a trash collector, expresses herself vigorously.
Joy and victory! When she correctly pronounces “the rain in Spain,” the professor grabs her and whirls her in a wild tango. By George, she’s got it!
A pantomime scene shows Eliza’s horror at her first step in Professor Higgins’ outrageous plan to make a lady of her.
She is terrified when the maids begin to undress her.
Yowling Eliza, condemned to tub, descends into steam-filled hell.